Bears Target Receiver/Return Specialist

The Bears have been unable to boost their depth at receiver or in the return game this off-season. One Big Ten product could contribute in both phases of the game.

University of Wisconsin wide receiver and return specialist Brandon Williams has been invited by the Chicago Bears to tour Halas Hall, according to Scout.com. The Bears are seeking to build depth at wide receiver, and are in need of a return specialist, making Williams an ideal candidate.

Williams, however, will be a hot commodity in the upcoming NFL draft. He has received a number of pre-draft looks from at least half of the teams in the National Football League. He has been timed between 4.4 and 4.52 in the 40-yard dash in individual workouts and at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

Teams with the most interest in Williams besides Chicago, include Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Pittsburgh. He has either visited or plans to visit with those teams.

Scout.com ranks the four-year starter and All-Conference performer the past two seasons as the 11th best prospect at receiver, earning a three-star rating. He's projected to be a middle round selection.

Williams had a sparkling punt return average of 14.6 yards, scoring two touchdowns, last year for the Badgers. He also became just the second receiver in Wisconsin history to top 1,000 yards receiving. He finished with a team-high 59 catches for 1,095 yards and six touchdowns. Williams had six catches for 173 yards and a touchdown in Wisconsin's 24-10 victory over Auburn in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2.

"I think my versatility is one of my main strengths because in college I played receiver, defensive back, kick returner, punt returner," Williams said at the NFL Combine. "I've done a lot of things and I've just had that knack for making that big play at the right time."

Williams' biggest obstacle is his height. The Bears are leaning toward smaller quicker receivers, and Williams is just over 5-foot-9 and 179 pounds. But with a vertical leap of 39 inches, he doesn't see his size as a negative.

"With the coming of Steve Smith and Santana Moss, I'm glad they had the years they had because they're helping me," Williams said. "A lot of scouts aren't worried too much about the size factor anymore, they just want a guy who can make plays and has an ability to make plays."

TFY Draft Preview Scouting Report
Positives:
Under-sized yet consistent receiver with ability as a return specialist. Quick off the line, sharp running routes and gets separation from opponents. Comes back to the ball, finds the soft spot in the defense and effectively uses the sidelines. Natural pass-catcher and easily adjusts to the errant throw. Not afraid to go up in a crowd for the difficult catch. Gives effort blocking downfield.

Negatives: Marginal top-end speed. Will have difficulty handling the jam at the next level. Unnecessarily lets the ball get inside him at times.

Analysis: Reliable throughout his Wisconsin career, Williams is a solid middle-round pick with potential as No. 3 receiver and return specialist at the next level.


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